GOAT CHEESE & CARAMELIZED ONION FLATBREADS

January 7, 2019

Here’s a solid way to make use of this whole wheat pizza dough recipe. You’ll find these full of flavor and quite fun to assemble. If making pizza dough intimidates you, just use store-bought frozen dough, or even already baked, pre-made naan or pitas. Then all you have to do is broil them up and get the cheese melted.

Sometimes we roll the dough a little extra thin and then they can be folded up and eaten likes wraps too. (Watch the cook time since a thinner dough won’t need as long.)

And lastly, this crust is super filling! Use it for when you need people to get full fast. You could skip chicken for a hearty meatless option, if you do that.

Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onion Flatbreads
Serves six small pizzas

1 batch whole wheat pizza dough
Olive oil for drizzling, plus additional
4 ounces ricotta
2 cups shredded mozzarella
4 ounces goat cheese
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 caramelized onions
Red wine vinegar, to dress spring mix
A few grinds of pepper
A dash of salt
4 cups spring mix lettuce
Grated parmesan
Basil
Balsamic reduction

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide dough into six evenly sized balls and roll into a flat circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Drizzle olive oil on dough. Spread a layer of ricotta across dough. Top with mozzarella, goat cheese, shredded chicken, and caramelized onion. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Stir together olive oil and red wine vinegar with a few grinds of pepper and a dash of salt. Toss spring mix lettuce with dressing and top with grated parmesan. Top pizzas with basil and balsamic reduction. Serve greens on top of pizza or as a side salad.

GOAT CHEESE & CARAMELIZED ONION FLATBREADS
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 batch whole wheat pizza dough
  • Olive oil for drizzling, plus additional
  • 4 ounces ricotta
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 2 caramelized onions
  • Red wine vinegar, to dress spring mix
  • A few grind of pepper
  • A dash of salt
  • 4 cups spring mix lettuce
  • Grated parmesan
  • Basil
  • Balsamic reduction
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Divide dough into six evenly sized balls and roll into a flat circle, about ¼ inch thick. Drizzle olive oil on dough.
  3. Spread a layer of ricotta across dough.
  4. Top with mozzarella, goat cheese, shredded chicken, and caramelized onion.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Stir together olive oil and red wine vinegar with a few grinds of pepper and a dash of salt. Toss spring mix lettuce with dressing and top with grated parmesan.
  7. Top pizzas with basil and balsamic reduction. Serve greens on top of pizza or as a side salad.

 

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BEFORE & AFTER: A CASUAL, COMFORTABLE DINING ROOM

January 3, 2019

Many dining rooms are very formal and abandoned feeling and that is THE OPPOSITE of what I wanted to achieve for ours. The comfortable and casual sentiment is important to me in a dining room because I want it to be 1) conducive to long post-dinner conversations and 2) because our dining room isn’t right by our kitchen, it has to be an incredible space we are drawn to sit down in every night. (And for me to be inspired to make the short walk with setting the table.)

We switched the room up from maybe what it was more traditionally planned for – a table going vertically straight down the middle. We instead flipped the table horizontal and made a wall to wall banquette. It works so well for us. I love creating a nice family table, which in a lot of ways is the heart of a family’s life together.

This is an after shot, and below it is the room before – with the previous owner’s stuff! Also a little video to give you the whole experience! (With visible baby bump!)

rus white dining chairs | blue lucca velvet pillowshexic stone taupe rug | dining table diy | dining banquette diy | indigo linen art | wood stool | left vase | center vase | right vase | white lumbar pillow | round blue patterned pillow | green velvet pillow | wood serving tray (similar) | white fur throw (similar) | brass flush mount light fixture| paint color

A must for me for the room was a big sideboard or buffet with extensive and organized storage (ideally with both drawers and adjustable shelves) and I went with this bios sideboard from article. The reality of a family like ours is the dining table is used for a lot more than just eating – schoolwork, puzzles, arts and crafts, card games. Also it’s just a good place for my older kids to work on something without the baby being able to get to it.

Many families probably wouldn’t need it to store china or a bunch of weird serveware (we are just nice, everyday plates kind of people!), but I DELIGHT IN IT for storing all the other stuff a family does around a table together.

rus white dining chairs | bios sideboard |  mustard lamp (similar) | black lamp shade | ornate chalkboard | light boxsilver tray |  pearl photo frame (similar) | blue & white throw blanket

The built-in banquette is another accomplishment for loungey-ness (I pile on these resilient velvet pillows), fitting lots of little ones when needed, and more STORAGE! Storage like there is no tomorrow! I mostly keep small kitchen appliances (instant pot, coffee maker) and hospitality materials for hosting large groups in there. And definitely it’s just nice to have a big place where a project can be put away when the table is needed at dinner. For example, right now the center one has my stuff for catching up on family photo albums, so I can pull it out or stash away when I like.

David made the dining table and having the table sideways makes the traffic flow and furnishing options in the room so much better. Walking through is easier, while still seating as many as possible.

Because the banquette seating is a little untraditional, for the opposite side of the table I wanted something sturdy and easy for grown men or perhaps pregnant or elderly folks who just want a nice, strong, normal chair! I got four of these rus dining chairs which are solid wood and fulfill that want for strength to sit in. Aesthetically I am super into the clean-lined modern meets traditional shaker style. Which is kind of the style of this whole room – a little modern plus some really traditional elements for a good mix. I normally keep three chairs at the table, but love having the fourth nearby when we are fitting more.

 square matted photo framenatural wood frame | figs painting

Like the chairs, for the art I mixed some abstract with very traditional elements. The centerpieces are pretty blue and white vases. I feel like blue and white ceramics are essentially a neutral. Looks good everywhere! For vessels that act as centerpieces I like ones that look good both empty or with something in them so I can have flexibility depending on the season or what I do or don’t have around at the time.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT DINING RUGS! I get a lot of questions about how I have one and keep it clean. This is the hexic stone taupe rug which has raised hexagons in sheep’s wool. The texture and color dimension is beautiful and we definitely have messy and irreverent eaters in our home. And still, I wouldn’t want to do without a rug in here because I want the coziness and pattern.

For that particular age range with babies, if we are having something messy at dinner I just put down a wipeable mat. (These leather ones are beautiful.) And I think the bottom line to success is not being afraid of cleaning your rugs routinely. I pick up food after the meal and generally spot clean when needed. It doesn’t take much to keep it looking good. And I suppose I just keep at it working on table cleanliness with the kids!

As for budget, the main expenses in here were the bios sideboard ($1099), dining chairs ($596 for four), rug ($499), velvet pillows ($297), table ($250), light fixture ($62), then about $400 for accessories and $300 for paint, crown moulding, and the built-in bench.

SOURCES

rus white dining chairs | bios sideboard | blue lucca velvet pillowshexic stone taupe rug | dining table diy | dining banquette diy | indigo linen art | wood stool | left vase | center vase | right vase | square matted photo framenatural wood frame | figs painting | white lumbar pillow | round blue patterned pillow | green velvet pillow | wood serving tray (similar) | white fur throw (similar) | mustard lamp (similar) | black lamp shade | ornate chalkboard | light box | silver tray |  pearl photo frame (similar) | blue & white throw blanket | brass flush mount light fixture | paint color

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A DIY KITCHEN ISLAND

December 20, 2018

OKAY this might be the biggest difference a single project has made in our home. Our open kitchen and living room is really the heart of the house and an island would be the work horse, centerpiece, and OVERALL CROWN JEWEL of that area. I love how it turned out and all the little features.

It was made from IKEA cabinets! That we built out and customized. I shared about how I designed it here and below is how it came together. There’s a fun video of it as well!

My favorite parts are 1) how it balances and centers the kitchen flow – transforming it from a former eat in kitchen combo to a regular, rounded out full kitchen, 2) the big and adequate trash center, and 3) the microwave is not on the counter!

vintage rug (similar)articulating sconces | farmer’s market calendar | cabinet knobs | black bin pulls | seascape print | marble utensil holders | metal barstools |  chrome faucet | counter depth refrigerator | hidden controls dishwasher | countertop microwave | electric slide-in range 

We assembled the ikea cabinets just as they came from the box. Then we built a plywood platform with 2 x 4 cross beams for the cabinets to sit on and in order to make the final surface the same height as our kitchen counters.

The platform screwed directly into the floor. For dimensions, we made it flush with the cabinets on the back and sides, and then flush with the drawers on the front. After the platform was installed and sturdy, we screwed the cabinets into the top of it and to each other.

The next step was to wrap the entire structure (except for the front where the drawers would be) in plywood. We screwed two 4 x 4 posts into the floor where we could fasten the sides of the island to create a nook for leg room at the bar area. To attach the posts to the kitchen floor, dowel screws were screwed into the center of the end of the post, then into pilot holes we drilled in the floor. Once the posts were in, we attached plywood to the sides of the island and wrapped the posts.

This completed the basic structure of the island. Next was wiring the microwave. We had our electrician install an outlet into the base of the platform the cabinets sit on that could just run through to electrical in the basement.

Then we notched out a hole from the ikea shelf the microwave sits on so it could just slide down the back to its outlet.

I love a built in microwave! And this one was quite easy.

We made our countertop by gluing, clamping, and screwing together two pieces of 3/4 inch plywood. (Same as we did for our standing desk!) We sanded, spackled, and painted with behr porch and floor paint in “ultra pure white” (gloss), then let if cure for several days.

We attached it to the island base with screws using the guide holes on the cabinet brackets. We also attached the top to the 4×4 posts with pocket screws since there were no cabinet brackets in the sitting area.

This countertop (along with the rest of our counters which are laminate with a concrete diy) are not meant to be long term solutions. My ideal would be to have marble! But I’m very happy with them for a few (or several) years for something easy and inexpensive.

With the top attached, we added baseboard around the whole island and some smaller millwork on the two sides. I love this millwork. It’s the same one we’ve used in our living room and powder room. I like repeating the same detail throughout the house.

The white metal bar stools are from target and I think one of the most stylish pieces I’ve seen from them, maybe ever. THEY SELL OUT OFTEN so I watched and waited until I could get three.

The tall vertical cabinet is for the trash storage. The top middle one is kind of my handy mom life paradise. I keep my onion and potato bins there, and then my frequently used kid stuff, including peanut butter and jelly making materials.

There’s the drawer within a drawer that ikea offers that we put in too. (You can see it in the first picture above.) I keep my cutting boards there and EVERYONE LOVES CONVENIENT CUTTING BOARD STORAGE.

Then there’s the microwave shelf of course and the other two drawers aren’t even full yet! I’m thinking I may store some things there related to kid chores (like materials they help set the table with) since it’s easily accessible for them.

We love eating lunch here. I love doing food prep here. We love it for putting out spreads of apps and ‘serts for parties. It has made the kitchen much more functional and less old school 1960’s kitchen.

Also a moment to remember that the door between the living room and kitchen used to be just a small, standard size door. WHAT! Now that it’s open I can’t imagine it being the old way.

I need to do a big kitchen audit and re-organize now that I have the island and also the new storage in the dining banquette. And I want to build some drawer dividers because those make such a difference and things can start having final decisions on places they are kept!

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